While It Lasts by Marc Kornblatt
Madison, WI (Milwaukee Premiere)
Running Time: 11 Minutes
Screening Time: Oct 26th 3:15pm
Tickets $10.00 Buy Tickets Here:
At 81, Jamie Ross, a retired art professor lives in a falling
down studio crammed with his own work and thousands of objects he has collected
over the decades. His current passion is rescuing intriguingly shaped tree limbs
from his wood pile and turning them into finely polished shapes adorned with
some of his favorite words, such as 'seemlessness.' One rain-soaked afternoon,
as water drips from the ceiling, he shares his thoughts on the meaning of art
and his own mortality.
moment I walked into Jamie Ross's art studio, in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, I
thought it would make a great setting for a film. I was thinking narrative,
perhaps a murder mystery, or some kind of Gothic tale. The deteriorating, barny
space, crammed with original art and artifacts from around the world, the
piled-up garbage and dust-covered surfaces would have cost a great deal of money
to create, and here it was totally camera-ready. To add to the allure of the
project, Jamie seemed game.
My plans changed once I got to know this
quirky man who, at 81, was a working artist, and a hoarder. Genuine and cordial
from the start, Jamie had the gift of gab and a sense of humor that won me over.
I decided to forgo fiction and instead create a lasting record of Jamie's
artwork and workplace, letting him talk about his life philosophy and himself as
The inclement weather on the day we shot the film, the
studio's gritty ambiance and Jamie's narration inspired me to compose a score
that pays homage to Erik Satie's Gymnopedies. In my short pieces, I have tried
to capture what the viewer sees and hears on screen, coming away, hopefully,
with a sense of Jamie's spirit and world, as well as a colorful work of art.
The day I brought my cameraman and
audio technician to interview Jamie Ross, a cold, miserable December rain soaked
the three of us within the first five minutes of filming our opening exterior
shot. We remained soggy and chilled for the remainder of the day. That
bone-numbing rain, however, turned out to be a great blessing, as the images we
captured of water pummeling the roof and cascading into the studio, added
poignancy to the story.
The rain not only inspired the opening notes of
the piano piece I composed to start the film, it adds a rich texture to the
film's ambient sound throughout the documentary. Indeed, I would have invariably
created a different story, composed a different score, if the day had been brisk
and sunny. I don't believe that version would have been as strong.